Will Steve Hansen’s plan to stack two All Blacks on top of each other in a big coat pay dividends?

Sonny Bill Williams is now listed at 278cm tall.

Sonny Bill Williams is now listed at 278cm tall.

When the All Blacks face South Africa in their first match of next month’s Rugby World Cup, Steve Hansen’s bold plan to field 16 players by stacking two All Blacks on top of each other in a giant black coat will finally be put to the test.

Hansen has been under pressure to do something creative to help awaken the team after a string of concerning recent performances, and those close to the veteran coach say this might just be his “magnum opus.”

“If it works, it’s like the opposition having a red card from the very start,” said Assistant Coach Ian Foster.

And if it doesn’t?

“Then we’ll get like, three red cards. We might get disqualified altogether actually. It could be quite bad.”

The genius play has been in the works for some time, with Sonny Bill Williams and Richie Mo’unga having practiced balancing on each other’s shoulders for months now.

With the kind of height advantage they’ll generate, the pair may even be able to dunk the ball over the goal posts, which might be worth extra points.

“We uhh, we don’t know how many points that’s worth,” said Hansen, still trying to play it relatively coy at a media roundup this morning. “When we tried it in practice we didn’t get any points, but uh, that wasn’t an official game, so we don’t know what will happen if we do it in an official game. Trial and error, really.”

Hansen said he wasn’t worried about getting caught because he “hadn’t thought of that.”

Hansen isn’t the only Rugby World Cup coach thinking out of the box. Australian coach Michael Cheika is rumoured to be taking an even more unconventional approach, planning to field only 10 players and use it as an excuse.